Americans celebrated their nation’s 242nd anniversary of independence on Wednesday, with concerts, parades and a voracious display of hot dog-eating prowess in New York, as many cities and towns prepared for traditional fireworks displays after sundown, Yahoo News reports.
At the White House, President Donald Trump hosted a picnic for military families on the South Lawn during the afternoon, a few hours before fireworks were scheduled to light up the National Mall, according to Yahoo News.
Independence Day festivities scheduled for Washington featured a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra on the lawn of the Capitol. “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett, The Temptations, The Beach Boys and Luke Combs preformed , Yahoo News reports.
The Fourth of July holiday marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by congressional delegates in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.
The document declared the young nation’s independence from Great Britain and advanced the principle “that all men are created equal,” and had “certain unalienable rights” including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
More than two centuries later, however, it was the pursuit of hot dogs that defined the holiday at Coney Island on the waterfront of New York’s borough of Brooklyn, where Nathan’s Famous held its 46th annual hot dog-eating contest, according to Yahoo News.
Joey Chestnut once again dominated the competitive eating spectacle. The 34-year-old from San Jose, California, won his 11th “Mustard Belt” by downing an astonishing 74 wieners -topping the record of 72 he set last year, Yahoo News reports.
In the women’s division, Miki Sudo, 32, of Las Vegas, won her fifth title by putting away 37 hot dogs, according to Yahoo News.
Heat and humidity hung over the competition, as well as much of the country. The National Weather Service issued heat advisories for the Plains states eastward to the Mid-Altantic region. Temperatures were expected in the 90s with the humidity making it feel like 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, Yahoo News said.
More than 3 million spectators and 12 million television viewers watched 75,000 shells illuminate the night sky over the East River to the music of singer Kelly Clarkson.